Four Moms: Saving; Camp; Car Trip Games; Bean Recipes; Bad Attitudes; Getting Things Done; More…


How do you deal with irrational fears? – my 5 year old is extremely afraid of mummies. It kinda goes with the dark…He thinks they are going to get him if a room is dark. he saw one on an episode of duck tales and its now been several months of this fear and we don’t know how to over come it.

I tend not to accommodate irrational fears. I don’t mean I bully them and just leave them in the dark, or in the bath, or whatever. However, I have noticed that if I overdo the sympathy and accommodate and plead with them not to be afraid and so forth, it seems to feed their fears and make things worse. It’s almost as though I have convinced them that yes, there actually is something they should be afraid of, and they only become more deeply entrenched in those fears.
I would probably give a nightlight to a child afraid of the dark, but I would also be very low key about it, in a kindly firm and no nonsense way. ” We don’t have any mummies around here, they don’t really move, that was just a cartoon, it’s silly to be afraid, but here’s the nightlight until you grow out of this fear.” I would also cut back on the television.
We would probably also include the irrational fear in our nightly prayers, asking God to help the child overcome his fear of mummies.

I have a newborn at home and 4 older siblings (ages 3-12) who are on summer break. My question to you is, what are some things that the older kids can do so they don’t drive me crazy over summer while I’m caring for the newborn ?
about an hour ago.

I wouldn’t have been able to keep mine away from the newborn, so we’d have done most of that care together.  I’d also want to use that time to rebond as a family, rebuild relationships, reconnect, and strengthen the family unit as a unit, so I’d focus on activities that would help me do that.

What are things that interest your older children? Is there a way to encourage them to delve into those interests this summer? Can you take them to the library, parks, zoos, or museums that would feed those interests?

Maybe they’d be willing to work together on a play or a talent show to be presented to the parents at the end of a week or two.

Perhaps have them work on some of these items as a project– you can even do most of them together.

Do they know how to cook yet? Teach to make cookies, biscuits, pop popcorn, or some other simple recipes and let them bake something several times a week. Productive children tend to be happier than unproductive children, just like any other human beings.

How do you deal with bad attitudes during school? Mine give a bad attitude (whining, huffing and puffing, etc.) when something isn’t easy for them. . . if they don’t understand it right off, they don’t want to try, they just want to complain.
about an hour ago.

Remind them that being smart isn’t enough to get you through life, you have to work at it. Remind them of other things they did not understand at first, but then were able to do. And if the complaining gets too rough, you can do what I did and have a public school day.  Mwahahaha.  I only had to do it once.

Some of you (I know Smockity) have all girls and one boy. What age does he get his own room?
about an hour ago

WE also have all girls and one boy, although we do have the two Little Boys who are unofficial foster children who come from time to time. But our Boy got his own room when he was about seven. Mainly that’s because he was about seven when we moved into this house. My dad shared a room with his sister until he was 13 and she got married and moved out. Their ‘room’ was a sleeping porch in the south and it’s all they had. I have friends who had their boys sleep in the living room for a time when they were living in a small house. I know of two other families where all the children of both genders shared a room always. The room was only for sleeping, changing clothes was a bathroom activity.

Have you done anything unique to get less kids per room? We have a 3 bedroom house and are expecting #5. Currently we have 3 girls and one boy. . . I’m thinking the boy will need his own space, and the two big girls might could benefit from their own (shared) space when they start hitting puberty age. The two big girls are 9 and 7 and the next girl is just a year old.

When I was growing up I had friends who had three girls and a boy in the family- and that seemed like a large family to us then. Anyway, when they built their house, they put all the girls in one room. It was a long room, and they divided each bed space from the others by some bookcases that were about four feet high. You could divide a room with taller bookcases.
You don’t have to have beds. You can use Asian Futons that roll up and out of the way when not in use. This way you can have smaller rooms.
I’ve seen some families turn a larger closet into a tiny bedroom, or wall off a porch. I wish when we built this house that we had not given the girls each their own room, but had put them all one long room. I explained why at the bottom of this post.

6 hours in a 12 passenger van! How do I keep Sane on vaca when we r out of our schedule, staying up late, no where to get a break from each other and just cranky at the end? Is vaca worth it?

Only 6 hours?  We’ve done several 15 hour airplane trips with toddlers and preschoolers.  We drove from California to Indiana and then through Canada and up the Al-Can highway to Fairbanks, tent camping along the way once we hit Indiana.  Then we did it back down again 8 months later.

We have played car, bus, plane, subway, and even ferry games in four countries (the USA, Canada, Japan, and Korea), Alaska, Hawaii, the territory of Guam, and every state west of the Ohio river, and some states east of it, as well as south of the Mason Dixon line. I think I have some ideas for you.  And I miss road trips with the kids.

Why I am an expert on traveling with children.

Some of our travel games.  We didn’t mention slug bug or banana.

More games for the road.

We sing on the road, too.

Other activities for road trips.

And also here. I promise there will be something you can use.

Depending on the ages of your kids, you might just love playing hide-n-seek in the car while traveling. REally!

 I have a 2.5 year old & a nursing 8 month old….How do you get kitchen things done? I need to can tomatoes & put up corn for the freezer etc but these big projects scare me with tiny people in the house who need attention & to eat (& I know there’s only 2 but still!) thanks!!

I am a night owl and when I only had littles I usually did those projects after they were in bed, or I did them with a friend so we could tag team with the kids if we needed to.  And yes, you can say there are only two, but honestly, what you’re doing now is much, much harder than anything other time because the two are both littles.  Our sixth child was born when her oldest sister was 13, and I was absolutely astonished at how much of a difference it made.  I jokingly told people that if I’d know that, I would have had a 13 year old first.


Beautiful and Useful framedWhat philosophy of decor do you hold in general?

I talked about this at length once with a good friend who came to visit.  We were trying to figure out my style, and finally settled on ‘Old Curiosity Shoppe.’  My philosophy of decor is largely based on things that I find interesting to the eye, things that people want to pick up and examine because they are curios- I like that stuff and have filled my house with it.  It’s also more cluttered than I would really like because I combine that with being the inheritor of a large number of family items that I’ve been guilt tripped into keeping around.

I like William Morris very much, and I will generally take home anything affordable I find that reminds me of him.

What are your favorite sources of furniture and decor?

Yard sales, junk shops, thrift shops, and out by the curb for trash day.  I do not like new stuff, and I have never been inside an Ikea in my life (I’d not mind going, but there isn’t one within a hundred miles or more)

What’s your favorite bean recipe? Needing some cheap meals

Lentil rice tacos

Black bean sloppy joes

Hoppin’ John (best with corn bread)

Curried beans and rice

Enchilada or burrito pie

Chili Corn Salad (especially good on hot days)

Gypsy Soup

Taco Soup


I understand that not being a Christian is a dealbreaker for anyone coming to court your child. Would you be a friend or acquaintance or do business with someone not a Christian?

Yes to all of the above, and we do, are and have.  One of our most treasured friendships has been with an atheist/agnostic homeschooling family we met online, and later in person.  My husband has worked along side more unbelievers than Christians for most of his adult life. The Little Boys’ mother is not a believer.

Do you do sleepaway camp? (You know, like the week long Christian camp thing kids go on with their youth groups.) If you do, at what ages? If you don’t, why not? Considering this option for our kids, and while I did it growing up, I can’t put my thumb on why I’m not too crazy about the idea.

We do not, in general.  Our youngest two have done, once each.  The FYG did it last year at an all girls’ camp, and the FYB did it this year at an all boys’ ‘camp,’ that was held in a large church building and during the day the boys attended classes on public speaking and sermon making.

I wasn’t really excited about either one.  In general, I object on the grounds that they create and foster peer dependency rather than build family relationships.  I don’t like age segregation for the most part.

How do you manage to set aside money to save up so you can take advantage of larger, bulk purchases and savings?

I answered this one at length in this post.


Be sure to see which questions the other moms answered:

Kim, at Life in a Shoe

Connie, at Smockity Frocks

And Kimberly, at Raising Olives

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One Comment

  1. Fatcat
    Posted August 1, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I call my style ‘Early Thrift Store” but since I generally frame my kids and my husband’s art, we have really good artwork hanging above the sofa we got for free. 🙂

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